By 5-to-1 Public Thinks Most Journalists Trying to Elect Obama --9/11/2008
2. Matthews: Obama's 'Pig' Not Sexist, 'Community Organizer' Racist
3. CNN Labels Palin's Environmental Stances 'Outside the Mainstream'
4. 'Non-Partisan' Liberal Group's Critique of Palin Cited by CNN
5. ABC's Brian Ross Highlights Angry Librarians Opposed to Palin
6. MSNBC Hosts Mock and Distort Prayer Request by Sarah Palin
7. CBS Highlights Dem's Anti-Palin Plea: 'We've Got to Go After Her'
8. NYT's Herbert: "Arch-Conservative" Clarence Thomas' "Self-Hatred"
9. Couric Uses Sex Scandal to Show Bush Admin 'Close' to Big Oil
Media Appearance. Early readers: MRC President Brent Bozell will be on FNC's Fox & Friends at about 7:05 AM EDT Thursday morning to discuss media bias in campaign coverage (that's 6:05 AM CDT, 5:05 AM MDT, 4:05 AM PDT and 3:05 AM in Alaska where Sarah Palin and Charles Gibson are now located.
A week after a Rasmussen Reports survey discovered that by a ten-to-one margin the public believes the media are trying to hurt Sarah Palin, a new Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters, briefly highlighted Wednesday night on FNC's Hannity & Colmes, determined "69 percent remain convinced that reporters try to help the candidate they want to win, and this year by a nearly five-to-one margin voters believe they are trying to help Barack Obama." Specifically, "50 percent of voters think most reporters are trying to help Obama win versus 11 percent who believe they are trying to help his Republican opponent John McCain" with 26 percent saying "reporters offer unbiased coverage."
Even amongst Democrats, more think journalists are aiding Democrat Obama than Republican McCain: "While 83 percent of Republican voters think most reporters are trying to help Obama, 19 percent of Democrats agree, one percentage point higher than the number of Democrats who believe they are trying to help McCain." Most telling, "unaffiliated voters by a 53 percent to 10 percent margin see reporters trying to help Obama."
Matching the overall public perception of a pro-Obama media, "45 percent of Democrats say most reporters are providing unbiased coverage in the current presidential campaign, but only 20 percent of unaffiliateds and nine percent (9%) of Republicans agree."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For Rasmussen's full summary of the poll taken on September 8 and released on September 10, see: "69% Say Reporters Try to Help the Candidate They Want to Win," at: www.rasmussenreports.com
....Voters from both parties...are skeptical of media bias in general. Eighty-six percent (86%) of Republicans think reporters try to help the candidate they want to win, and a plurality of Democrats (49%) believe that, too. Seventy-four percent (74%) of unaffiliated voters agree.
Only 21% of voters overall say reporters try to offer unbiased coverage....
Among all voters, 57% believe Obama has received the best treatment by the media, while 21% say McCain has been treated best. Only nine percent (9%) believe the media has been most favorable to Senator Hillary Clinton, who was Obama's closest rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Forty-two percent (42%) think reporters would hide information that hurts the candidate they want to win, but 34% do not agree. But there's a partisan divide here: While 63% of likely McCain voters believe reporters would hide information harmful to the candidate they favor, 52% of potential Obama voters do not agree....
END of Excerpt
The new Rasmussen survey echoes two other recent polls, one by Rasmussen and one by Fox News. The September 5 CyberAlert item, "Poll: By 10-to-1 Public Says Reporters 'Trying to Hurt Palin,'" recounted:
"Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and 24% say those stories make them more likely to vote for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in November," Rasmussen Reports announced Thursday in posting survey results which determined "just five percent (5%) think reporters are trying to help her with their coverage, while 35 percent believe reporters are providing unbiased coverage." In Thursday's "Grapevine" segment, FNC's Brit Hume highlighted the findings from the poll of 1,000 "likely voters."
By wide margins, more Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters see the media as trying to hurt rather than trying to help Palin. For Republicans it's 80 to 6 percent, for Democrats 28 to 4 percent (with 57 percent believing reporting is unbiased) and for unaffiliated voters it's 49 to 5 percent.
For more: www.mrc.org
And the July 25 CyberAlert posting, "Fox Poll: Two-Thirds Recognize Journalists Want Obama to Win," reported:
Just days after a Rasmussen Reports survey was released showing more than three times as many likely voters "believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage" than help John McCain, a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll taken July 22-23 of 900 registered voters discovered six times as many think "most member of the media" want Obama to win than wish for a McCain victory. On Thursday's Special Report, FNC's Brit Hume relayed: "67 percent of the respondents think most media members want Obama to win. Just 11 percent think most in the media are for McCain."
A FoxNews.com article added this damning finding: "Only about 1 in 10 (11 percent) volunteers the belief that the media is neutral on the race to become the 44th President of the United States." Those polled recognize the tilt in action: "When asked to rate the objectivity of media coverage of the campaigns, Americans feel Obama gets more of a positive spin by a better than 7-to-1 margin (46 percent more positive toward Obama; 6 percent more positive toward McCain)."
For more: www.mediaresearch.org
The "How the Public Views the Media" section of the MRC's "Media Bias Basics" lists many more surveys of how the public perceive journalists and the news media: www.mediaresearch.org
Chris Matthews spent the entirety of Wednesday night's Hardball debunking the idea that Barack Obama was referring to Sarah Palin, when he made his "lipstick on a pig" remark, as the MSNBC host questioned if it "insults...everyone's intelligence?" However did Matthews insult his viewers' intelligence, on Monday, when he accused Palin and Rudy Giuliani of using coded racist language when they joked about Obama's experience as a "community organizer?"
At the top of Wednesday's show, Matthews invited on Republican strategist John Feehry and Democratic strategist Jenny Backus to discuss the topic, and hit Feehry hard, as he admitted to Backus: "I'm doing your job," and dismissed the "lipstick" controversy: "This is like Seinfeld, this is about nothing."
But on Monday's show Matthews tried to make a big deal out of "nothing," when he saw racism in Palin and Giuliani using the words "community organizer." Matthews charged: "Rudy Giuliani got the biggest giggle out of that. And then, of course, Sarah, Sarah Palin did. They're giggling over the community organizer role as if it's, has, it carries more freight than just a job you once had. Is this the new 'welfare queen?' Is this a new symbol, that we're talking about here?...Do you it has an ethnic piece, an urban piece even?"
[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following exchanges occurred on the September 10 Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You believe he was referring to Sarah Palin?
MATTHEWS: This is like Seinfeld, this is about nothing.
MATTHEWS: Coming up later on "Hardball," will women buy the McCain campaign's accusations that Barack Obama was making a sexist comment about Governor Palin? Or will they feel it insults their intelligence? By the way, perhaps everyone's intelligence. "Hardball," returns after this.
To read about Matthews seeing racism in attacks by Palin and Giuliani on Obama, check the September 10 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Wednesday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For Palin's full statement on global warming, see NewsMax.com's August 29 interview, "Palin Speaks to Newsmax About McCain, Abortion" at: www.newsmax.com
Correspondent Randi Kaye interviewed University of Alaska professor Rick Steiner during the first segment, a report on Palin's environmental record. She asked, "In a word, if you can sum up Sarah Palin's record on the environment here, what would it be?" Steiner answered, "Abysmal." Anderson Cooper's blog on CNN.com republished the professor's September 7 editorial from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in which he railed against Governor Palin: "In addition to her frightening lack of qualification to be vice president (much less president) of the United States, Palin is an evangelical, anti-choice, pro-gun, right-wing conservative who wants creationism taught in schools." When a shorter version of her report aired on Wednesday's The Situation Room, Kaye added that Steiner "says he's not a Republican or a Democrat." Despite this clarification, it is clear from his editorial that Steiner is a liberal.
For Steiner's full editorial against Palin, see "Sarah Palin's abysmal environmental record" on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 blog: ac360.blogs.cnn.com
After a commercial break which followed Kaye's segment, Brown moderated a panel discussion with CNN's Roland Martin and Jeffrey Toobin, as well as Republican strategist Bay Buchanan, about Palin's record on the environment. Brown first mentioned that "[h]er [Palin's] view is that global warming is not man-made." Toobin, who sarcastically remarked in May that acknowledging man-made global warming is "like acknowledging gravity -- it is a scientific fact," took no time in criticizing this stance by the Alaska governor: "It's a very extreme view.... But the view of global warming [Palin's] reflects an extreme outside-the-mainstream view that John McCain doesn't share, and frankly, no respectable scientist shares."
For more on Toobin's statement that man-made global warming is "like acknowledging gravity -- it is a scientific fact," see the May 14 CyberAlert item, "Toobin: McCain on Global Warming 'Like Acknowledging Gravity'" at: www.mrc.org
Brown then turned to Buchanan and remarked that "the debate over global warming did seem to come to an end, though. You even had Bush coming around on that over the last year." Buchanan argued that "there's many scientists that suggest there is no evidence whatsoever that it's related to anything man has done," and stuck to this position through the remainder of the discussion. The host later repeated this sentiment at the end of the segment: "I don't want to re-debate global warming. To me, that issue is dead and pretty much decided."
The transcript of the panel discussion, which began 55 minutes into the 8pm EDT hour of CNN's Election Center program:
CAMPBELL BROWN: We want to talk about -- more about Sarah Palin's views on many of these issues. For some, they are heavenly -- for others, very much to the extreme. I've got the political panel back with me now -- Jeff Toobin, Roland Martin, and Bay Buchanan. And, Jeff, you saw the pieces we just aired -- Randi Kaye's pieces from Alaska, listening to her father. But on environmental issues in particular, one of the positions that's getting a lot of scrutiny is global warming. Her view is that global warming is not man-made. Now, that is different from what John McCain believes and different from even President Bush, who's come around in this issue.
CNN's Jessica Yellin filed a report from Anchorage, Alaska on Wednesday's American Morning which cited a "non-partisan" organization whose official policy stance includes a pro-abortion position, and whose president used to work for NARAL. She also included a soundbite from a Palin critic who donated hundreds of dollars to Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Yellin's report examined how the Alaska Governor balances her government work with her family life. She included soundbites from Meg Stapleton, a former aide to Palin who was labeled on-screen as a "Palin campaign advisor" and Kristan Cole, a childhood friend of the Governor. After a positive and short depiction of Palin's life, Yellin cited how "Palin supporters insist her experience as a working mother means she'll represent American women."
The CNN correspondent then went to the critics of the Governor's record: "But some women's groups are critical. The non-partisan National Partnership for Women and Families gives Alaska a D-minus when it comes to its parental leave policy. For example, there's no guarantee of paid leave for new parents." Yellin followed this with a soundbite from Dr. Vicki Lovell of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, who thought there's a contradiction there between Governor Palin's professed values about supporting families and then what we actually see in the state of Alaska, where there aren't adequate supports for families who are welcoming new infants."
[This item is a compilation of posts by Matthew Balan and Michael M. Bates, both posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
So how "nonpartisan" is the National Partnership for Women and Families? Check out its board of directors. Cheryl D. Mills's name stands out. She "gained national prominence for her defense of President Clinton during the 1999 Senate impeachment trial." Linda Bergthold is a blogger on the leftwing Huffington Post, with a recent contribution titled "The VP Choice that Lost the Presidency for McCain."
For a list of the board of directors of the National Partnership, see: www.nationalpartnership.org
For Cheryl D. Mills's biography as Senior Vice President of New York University, see: www.nyu.edu
For Linda Bergthold's at the Huffington Post, see: www.huffingtonpost.com
One of the National Partnership's professed goals is increasing "women's access to quality, confidential reproductive health services and block attempts to limit reproductive rights and reverse hard-won gains....to give every woman access to the full range of reproductive health information and services, including... abortion services." The biography of their president, Debra Ness, proudly states that she "moved to head up field operations for the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), where she worked to revitalize the organization's grassroots political capability and affiliate network. She became NARAL's deputy director in 1989 and helped propel the organization's transformation into a major force in American electoral politics."
For the National Partnership for Women and Familes' stance on "reproductive health & rights," see: www.nationalpartnership.org
For National Partnership president Debra Ness's biography, see: www.nationalpartnership.org
Dr. Lovell's organization, the Institute for Women's Policy Research, also takes the pro-abortion position. In addition to this, Lovell donated a total of $900 to Hillary Clinton's campaign within the course of a week in February and March of 2008 during the Democratic primaries.
For the Institute of Women's Policy's stance on "reproductive health," see: www.iwpr.org
For a listing of Dr. Lovell's contribution to Hillary Clinton's campaign, see: www.newsmeat.com
The full transcript of Yellin's report, which began 33 minutes into the 6am EDT hour of Wednesday's American Morning:
JOHN ROBERTS: Sarah Palin returns to Alaska today, but her home coming bittersweet as her eldest son, Track, deploys for Iraq. And since Palin was nominated for vice president, her career and her personal life have been under the microscope. CNN's Jessica Yellin joins us this morning from Anchorage, Alaska. She is live with more on all of this. Good morning, Jessica.
Wednesday's Good Morning America featured a one-sided segment on whether Sarah Palin, as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, tried to have some books banned from the town's library. Despite the fact that no one featured in the segment could cite a specific book, co-host Robin Roberts labeled the event "a battle that brought her toe-to-toe with a local librarian over which books were appropriate and which were not, something her critics say crossed the line into censorship." Investigative reporter Brian Ross also intoned that there are "members of the Alaska Library Association who to this day remain very wary of Sarah Palin."
The Ross report featured several critics, but no clips or on camera explanations by the McCain/Palin campaign. Instead, the piece focused on the 1996 uproar over certain controversial books in the Wasilla library. Then-Mayor Palin asked librarian Mary Ellen Edmonds what the process would be for removing books. The librarian was ultimately fired. However, Ross explained toward the end of the piece: "In a conversation with me yesterday, the librarian said she could not recall Palin asking for specific book titles to be removed from the shelves."
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
While wrapping up the piece, Ross also acknowledged that so-called "lists" on the internet of books that Palin supposedly wanted banned were fraudulent: "That's not true, that long list of books that some may have seen on the internet. That's simply made up. That was not part of this discussion." He went on to explain that the Republican's question amounted to, "If people were picketing the library, would you take books off the shelf?"
Diane Sawyer added to the confusion by stating in the show open that "reports" say that Palin "once tried to ban some books from Wasilla's public library, her home town." She made that remark in the guise of separating fact from fiction. However, as already noted, most of the clarifying information that no one could name such books came at the end of the segment.
A transcript of the September 10 segment, which aired at 7:08am:
Monday night featured MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow finding fault with Sarah Palin's religious beliefs and some of the teachings of her former church in Wasilla, Alaska, as the two harped on comments the Alaska Governor delivered at the Wasilla Assembly of God last June. YouTube video of Palin: www.youtube.com
On the first episode of her new television program, the Rachel Maddow Show, the eponymous host misinterpreted Palin's request that church members pray for American troops, as the Alaska Governor expressed her hope that the Iraq war is part of "God's plan," with the MSNBC host claiming that Palin was "asserting" that the war factually is "God's plan."
Maddow claimed that Palin "said that the commander-in-chief for our side in the Iraq War is a mighty general who's initials are G-O-D." On Countdown, Olbermann and Maddow took exception with Palin's account of a minister who prayed that she would be successful in her political life as they mocked the concept of praying in the hopes that prayers might be answered. Olbermann referred to Palin as "Elmer Gantry" and "Amy Semple McHockey Mom."
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
And in a move that makes Olbermann look wimpy for his refusal to feature conservative guests, Maddow allowed conservative political analyst Pat Buchanan to take her on during a segment at the end of her show, during which Buchanan accused Maddow and Olbermann of "trashing" Palin's religion. As Maddow claimed that "nobody's trashing anybody's religion," Buchanan responded: "Well, you go back over the two shows we've just had."
Before being cut off by Maddow, the conservative analyst went on to point out Maddow's double standard in softpedaling Obama's association with the blatantly controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright, while treating Palin's church life more seriously. Buchanan: "This is remarkable, okay. We have the other candidate, Barack Obama, who has been, for 15 years, belonged to a church which is run by a racist anti-white, anti-American pastor, and his wife had those kids baptized by him."
At the end of his Countdown show, Olbermann brought aboard Maddow and introduced the topic of Palin's religious beliefs, focusing on her former church's teaching that prayer can cure homosexuality, and the Alaska Governor's quote from a June appearance in which she talked about the minister who prayed for her political success. Olbermann mocked prayer as he introduced a clip of Palin's words: "Perhaps the fate of the McCain/Palin campaign lies in the hands of a power much greater than America's constitutionally designated democracy. In fact, your votes may not matter at all. Your prayers, however, that's a whole different ball of wax. In our number one story on the Countdown, Sarah Palin, messenger and messiah."
Olbermann's show then played a clip of Palin's words that the Countdown host seemed to think were such a scandal. Palin: "He's praying, 'Lord, make a way, Lord, make a way.' And I'm thinking, this guy is really bold. He doesn't even know what I'm going to do. He doesn't know what my plans are. And he's praying not, 'Oh, Lord, if it be your will, may she become Governor,' whatever. No, he just prayed for it. He said, 'Lord, make a way and let her do this next step.'"
Referring to an upcoming clip of Palin talking about praying for help in getting a new oil pipeline built, Olbermann sarcastically added: "Just like voters in the presidential election. This begs the question, of course, why bother? If you want to get something done, ask the Lord. He or she probably doesn't have much else to worry about besides oil pipelines."
While claiming that Palin's religious beliefs are not the issue, Maddow went on to express worry over Palin's potential religious beliefs: "What Sarah Palin believes religiously isn't really any of our business. What she needs to be asked about, what we need to figure out whether it's worth worrying about is whether she thinks that God is directing her public policies, whether she believes in the separation of church and state, whether she believes that she has been elected to public office in order to do the will of her religion and if God is speaking through her. Then I think there's cause to worry."
Olbermann compared Palin to the notorious character Elmer Gantry from Sinclair Lewis's 1927 novel of the same name, and to a famous evangelical Christian leader from the early 20th century named Amy Semple McPherson, who was believed to have faked her own kidnapping in the 1920s: "Listening to her, and this doesn't just apply to the tape we just saw, but throughout the last, the 10 days of Sarah Palin, she's Elmer Gantry. She's Amy Semple McHockey Mom."
The Wikipedia entry on Elmer Gantry describes the character as "a young, narcissistic, womanizing college athlete who, upon realizing the power, prestige, and easy money that being an evangelical preacher can bring, pursues his 'religious' ambitions with relish, contributing to the downfall, even death, of key people around him as the years pass. Gantry continues to womanize, is often exposed as a fraud, and frequently faces a complete downfall, yet he is never fully discredited and always manages to emerge triumphant and reaching ever greater heights of social standing."
As Olbermann continued, he seemed to suggest that people who would have a favorable reaction to Palin are the kind of people whose eyes would "roll back in their heads," and who would speak in tongues: "Do we have any idea, those who will look at those tapes, whose eyes will then roll back in their heads and in tongues they will say I like this woman or this candidate, or Americans who will then shout a three-word question, beginning with 'What the-'?"
As Maddow contended that most Americans like political figures to have some religious belief as long as it is not "religious extremism," she went on to suggest Palin would not be acceptable to most Americans: "But if you believe that God is directing troop movements in Fallujah, I think that Americans, by and large, will react with the 'what the' reaction rather than the neat-o reaction to that."
Regarding the belief that prayer can convert people away from homosexuality, Maddow claimed that such beliefs inspire "hate" toward homosexuals. Maddow: "When you say that you can pray away the gay, what that does is it terrorizes gay people. And it makes people who hate gay people feel better about hating gay people, because really all they're doing is hoping for the salvation, which could so easily be achieved by just the right titrated amount of prayer."
On the premiere episode of the Rachel Maddow Show, host Maddow played a clip of Palin asking members of her former church to pray for American troops and, in her mind, discovered another religion scandal. Maddow introduced the clip: "This past June, Governor Palin, speaking at her longtime church in Wasilla, Alaska, said that the commander-in-chief for our side in the Iraq war is a mighty general who's initials are G-O-D."
Palin: "Pray, for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."
Near the end of her show, Maddow brought aboard Buchanan to respond to her show's left-wing presentation, and the conservative political analyst accused Maddow and Olbermann of "trashing" Palin's religion, and disputed her interpretation of Palin's words:
BUCHANAN: Okay. She went to Assembly of God Church. She's a Pentecostal. I heard what she said. She said, "Let us pray that this war is part of God's plan." What is wrong with that for a woman whose 19-year-old boy is about to be sent off and may never return, that she asks for prayers? Just as Lincoln said-
BUCHANAN: Now, you go on national television and you go trashing that religion because of what they believe about the End Times-
Before being cut off by Maddow, Buchanan also brought up the double standard in Maddow's lack of interest in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
BUCHANAN: You know, this is remarkable. Okay. We have the other candidate, Barack Obama, who has been, for 15 years, belonged to a church which is run by a racist anti-white, anti-American pastor, and his wife had those kids baptized by him.
While, like the rest of the media establishment, CBS's Early Show seemed to conclude that Barack Obama's "lipstick on a pig" crack from the day before was nothing but a harmless comment, reporter Bill Plante put the swipe in the context of Democrats' desperation to find some way to undermine the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Unlike his competitors at ABC and NBC, Plante on Wednesday highlighted how Newsweek's Howard Fineman quoted an unnamed "top Democratic strategist" as arguing about Palin: "We've got to go after her, and fast." See: www.newsweek.com
And Plante quoted from the blog WomenCount.org, which vowed to "work to stamp out sexism where we see it on the campaign trail." Online at: womencount.org
While all of the morning shows led with the "lipstick on a pig" complaint and steered the discussion to the view that the McCain campaign is thin-skinned and/or cynically calculating for raising such a spurious issue, none bothered to mention the far more absurd Democratic complaints that Republican references to Barack Obama as a "community organizer" were some sort of racist plot -- instead of quite obvious shots at Obama's lack of experience.
As for the "lipstick-pig" issue, Plante was dismissive: "John McCain used the same expression, he used it last fall when talking about Democrats' health care plan, compared it to Hillary-care back from the '90s and said that it was like putting lipstick on a pig. So that'll probably go away this time."
[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For good measure, CBS brought aboard the senior editor of the liberal New Republic, Michael Crowley, who made the same point, calling Obama's remark an "unintentional, pretty harmless comment that I think the McCain campaign wants us to discuss as a gaffe." But Crowley also saw Democrats as "a little psyched out" by the prospect of running against Palin: "What this illustrates is the trouble that Palin causes for the Democratic ticket, because the Republicans are in a position to say [about] any comment like that, that's sexism, you're talking down to her, you're not showing respect to a woman. It's a really hard thing for Democrats to deal with, and you can tell they're a little psyched out by it."
Here's how CBS covered the issue, which topped their Early Show broadcast on Wednesday morning:
Show intro, 7am EDT:
HARRY SMITH: Lipstick bungle? Democrats look for openings as McCain and Palin surge in the polls, but was this a jab at the Alaskan Governor?
Interview with Michael Crowley, 7:06am EDT:
HARRY SMITH: First things first, want to talk about the lipstick on a pig comment. Gaffe? Intentional? Somewhere in between? What do you think?
Also, I think Smith meant that Palin was "figuratively" the third rail, not "literally," although that's what he said. If she were an actual rail, she would presumably have somewhat less appeal to white working class women voters.
Comparatively mild-mannered columnist Bob Herbert lets the mask slip: "Self-hatred is a terrible thing. Just ask that arch-conservative Clarence Thomas." What's gotten into the Times' normally mild-mannered, paleo-liberal columnist Bob Herbert? The former NBC News reporter doesn't usually get too hyperbolic in his twice-weekly columns, which is why TimesWatch more often cites the spikier leftist columnists like Paul Krugman and Frank Rich -- plus Herbert's soporofic style makes one reluctant to read on.
But Herbert sounded more than a little peeved in his spirited Tuesday column in defense of paleo-liberalism, "Hold Your Heads Up," arguing that liberalism not only is responsible for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and other non-white males having the ability to run for President, but for civil rights, women's rights, clean water...all manner of good things. Fair commentary, if utterly simplistic -- but Herbert overstepped by calling the right wing "troglodytes" and did so in starkly personal terms in his conclusion, sliming conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as a "self-hater," playing into the racial stereotype that one must be a Democrat to be truly black.
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
An excerpt from Herbert's September 9 column:
Ignorance must really be bliss. How else, over so many years, could the G.O.P. get away with ridiculing all things liberal?
Troglodytes on the right are no respecters of reality. They say the most absurd things and hardly anyone calls them on it. Evolution? Don't you believe it. Global warming? A figment of the liberal imagination.
Liberals have been so cowed by the pummeling they've taken from the right that they've tried to shed their own identity, calling themselves everything but liberal and hoping to pass conservative muster by presenting themselves as hyper-religious and lifelong lovers of rifles, handguns, whatever.
So there was Hillary Clinton, of all people, sponsoring legislation to ban flag-burning; and Barack Obama, who once opposed the death penalty, morphing into someone who not only supports it, but supports it in cases that don't even involve a homicide.
Without the extraordinary contribution of liberals -- from the mightiest presidents to the most unheralded protesters and organizers -- the United States would be a much, much worse place than it is today.
There would be absolutely no chance that a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin could make a credible run for the highest offices in the land. Conservatives would never have allowed it.
Civil rights? Women's rights? Liberals went to the mat for them time and again against ugly, vicious and sometimes murderous opposition. They should be forever proud.
Herbert read off the laundry list of wonderful liberal accomplishments like food stamps, clean water and Head Start all of which he has no doubt provide services only the federal bureaucracy is capable of providing, then paused for breath before getting nasty:
It would take volumes to adequately cover the enhancements to the quality of American lives and the greatness of American society that have been wrought by people whose politics were unabashedly liberal. It is a track record that deserves to be celebrated, not ridiculed or scorned.
Self-hatred is a terrible thing. Just ask that arch-conservative Clarence Thomas.
Liberals need to get over it.
END of Excerpt
For Herbert's column in full: www.nytimes.com
CBS's Katie Couric on Wednesday night used an Interior Department sex and drug scandal to snidely frame a story around how "the Bush administration has long been accused of having too close a relationship with the oil industry. Just how close is documented in new reports just out today." The ABC and NBC evening newscasts also ran full stories on three new reports from the Interior Department's inspector general about the staffers of the Minerals Management Service, mostly in Colorado, but refrained from the overtly political characterization.
Turning to reporter Sharyl Attkisson, Couric opined: "This sounds pretty embarrassing." Attkisson agreed as she immediately brought President Bush into the story: "It is, Katie. The investigative reports were released a day after President Bush had a private lunch with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, the man in charge of the agency at the heart of the scandal. That was behind closed doors. Today's embarrassment was very public."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
From the September 10 WashingtonPost.com story, "Interior Dept. Officials Embroiled in Energy Ethics Scandal," it does not appear many of those involved were political appointees. That story summarized: "Government officials in charge of collecting billions of dollars worth of royalties from oil and gas companies accepted lavish gifts, steered contracts to favored firms and engaged in illicit sex with employees of the energy companies, federal investigators reported today." See: www.washingtonpost.com
In contrast, on ABC's World News, the set up from Charles Gibson stuck to the facts without bringing in pejorative characterizations: "Federal investigators released a stinging report today that finds government employees, who were supposed to oversee the oil industry, were sleeping with energy company workers, doing drugs with them and accepting gifts from them. The report from the Interior Department's inspector general concludes there was a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity involving some Interior Department workers. Here's ABC's Lisa Stark."
Brian Williams, on the NBC Nightly News, also refrained from using the news for a cheap political hit: "Now to a brewing scandal that has just late today been revealed involving the U.S. Department of the Interior, the cabinet agency responsible for this nation's public lands. The agency's inspector general found some employees in a totally dysfunctional environment, allegedly doing things including accepting gifts from oil companies, engaging in rampant substance abuse and sexual misconduct and steering contracts to friends. The story tonight from NBC's Tom Costello."
-- Brent Baker